Anglo answers must await inquiry - Quinn

Scale of what happened the State as a result of the banking collapse requires caution

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn: “I hope that these matters and others will be fully examined”

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn: “I hope that these matters and others will be fully examined”

Tue, Jun 25, 2013, 10:41

TIM O’BRIEN

Answers to what happened in the banking collapse of September 2008, and who if anyone is culpable for any wrongdoing, must await the outcome of the Oireachtas banking inquiring, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has said.

Speaking in Maynooth today, Mr Quinn said the scale of what happened to the State as a result of the bank bailout meant that any inquiry would be “tightly scrutinised and watched” by all concerned.

A new framework providing Oireachtas members with powers to carry out inquiries into a host of issues of public concern such as the banking collapse was announced by Government in May. The Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013 includes procedures to remove officeholders such as the president or judges and could be used for an inquiry into the collapse of the State’s banking sector.

Mr Quinn said as a member of the Oireachtas and a member of the Government he “did not want to say anything that would prejudice the outcome” of such an inquiry.

Asked about reports that Anglo Irish Bank officials had somehow misled the State into providing a banking guarantee Mr Quinn said : “It’s quite a story obviously. I haven’t had a chance to analyse it, but we will be in the Oireachtas when the banking inquiry takes place and I hope that these matters and others will be fully examined.

“Lets hear the full story and let the inquiry find out what did happen,” he said.

Asked if he as a taxpayer had been angered by the reports alleging an Anglo Irish Bank strategy, he said: “The whole country is very angry at the way in which our economic sovereignty was forfeited effectively by the way in which the then government hitched the taxpayers to liabilities that were taken out by the banks in the first instance”, he said.

On the question of a timescale for such an inquiry, Mr Quinn said such an issue was the responsibility of his cabinet colleagues, so he did not want to overstep his own remit. But in relation to foreign banking inquiries, particularly in the United States where people have already been jailed, Mr Quinn said the comparison was not the same. In the US he said an individual had pleaded guilty to offences.

“I think the difficulty in this matter is finding a trail of evidence that can be substantiated,” he said.